Meaning of CAPTAIN in English


I. ˈkaptə̇n, rapid or before a name sometimes -p ə m noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English capitane, captein, from Middle French capitaine, capitain, from Late Latin capitaneus foremost, chief, from Latin capit-, caput head — more at head

1. : a person having authority over and responsibility for a group or unit : chief , leader : as

a. : the commander of a body of troops or of a military establishment (as a fortress)

b. : an officer entrusted with a command under a sovereign or general

c. : a ranking naval or maritime officer:

(1) : an officer in charge of a warship

(2) : an officer in charge of any ship and responsible for its navigation and for direction of its operations regardless of official rank — often used as a courtesy title

(3) : a senior naval officer ranking just below a rear admiral or commodore and above a commander

d. : an army, marine, or air-force officer ranking below a major and above a first lieutenant

e. : a distinguished or highly skilled military leader

f. chiefly England : a mine superintendent or manager

g. obsolete : an Indian chief

h. chiefly England : a leader of a student group : head boy

i. : a leader in charge of the personnel of a train, caravan, or airplane: as

(1) : a railroad conductor in charge of a freight or passenger train

(2) : a pilot of a plane in flight ; especially : a pilot of an air-force plane

j. : a leader of a side or team in a sports contest or similar activity

k. : a fire or police department officer usually ranking between a chief and a lieutenant

l. : a party officer charged with organizing voters in a ward, precinct, or electoral district


(1) : a restaurant functionary in charge of waiters : headwaiter

(2) : a hotel functionary in charge of bellboys — called also bell captain

n. chiefly South : boss — sometimes used as a generalized term of respect

o. : a Salvation Army officer ranking above a first lieutenant and below a senior captain

p. : the player in chouette who plays against the man in the box — abbr. capt.

2. : a dominant figure : a person of importance and influence

captains of commerce

II. adjective

obsolete : chief , head

III. ˈkaptə̇n transitive verb

( -ed/-ing/-s )

: to be captain of : fill the role of captain of : lead

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.